22 July 2014 | alisonc-1
Strong Coming of Age Story
Kat is a 17-year-old girl in the suburbs, growing up in the late 1980s and observing her parents' dysfunctional marriage at close hand while trying to cope with first love, relationships, sex and friendships - all the growing pains that being 17 involves. When her mother disappears one day, the police think she's probably run off, perhaps with a boyfriend; Kat thinks her mother just got so fed up with her boring, empty, perfect-housewife life that she finally left it to find something better. Kat herself doesn't know how she feels about that; truly, she doesn't really feel much of anything, especially because her mother had recently been so intrusive in her life. Her father seems meek and lost after her mother leaves, but both of them will eventually have to pick up the pieces and go on. If only Kat would stop having those disturbing dreams about where her mother might be....
This is really far more of a coming-of-age story than it is anything else; aside from some dream images, there's very little that would fit the term "fantastical," even though I saw it at Montreal's Fantasia Festival. There is some very fine acting, from Eva Green as the mother, Shailene Woodley as Kat, Christopher Meloni as Kat's father and Thomas Jane as a police detective, and both writer/director Gregg Araki (from the novel by Laura Kasischke) and the cast do a very good job of capturing that confusing stage of adolescence, where one is not quite fully grown up but is certainly not at all a child anymore either. I very much enjoyed the film, even if Fantasia is an odd place to see it!